A new Benoit & Sergio release is always an event for the deep house world.
While their contemporaries typically value dance floor fluency over nuanced narrative, the DC and Berlin-based duo consistently incorporate a songwriting sensibility in their tracks, rendering them equally suited for home listening as sunrise dance sessions.
Although their forthcoming three-track EP on Visionquest eschews the use of their own vocals to explore leitmotiv sample interplay, the release retains the melodic and memorable hallmarks of their prior output.
Watch the music video for the EP’s eponymous lead single “Your Darkness,” exclusively on Billboard:
Benoit & Sergio are also currently finishing their first full-length album, which is being co-produced by DARKSIDE (Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington) and will be released on Jaar’s eclectic Other People imprint. The duo took a studio break to catch up with Billboard on their new EP, creative process and future plans:
Billboard: Talk a bit about the concept behind “Your Darkness” and its accompanying video.
B&S: One of the ideas behind “Your Darkness” was the use of “small moments.” In an interview, Brian Eno mentions how it is not necessarily negative to have small moments to create bigger ones. It’s something we’ve always believed in and “Your Darkness” is an example of that. In this case, smaller moments are even created by negative elements like the acid line that starts the track. When the acid line leaves, it removes tension. The idea was also to keep the track fragile and simple.
The video tries to capture, as well, this notion of “small moments” of the everyday within the big moment of the city itself. There’s also a kind of kind of melancholy to the track which, we thought, would work alongside the video nostalgia of ’80s Tokyo.
This release marks your 3rd EP on Visionquest. How did you establish a relationship with the label and how has it evolved over time?
The Visionquest boys have been friends of ours for some time now, before the label even existed. And it hasn’t changed since then. They stay some of the closest friends we have in the scene and working with them has been an amazing ride. There is a trust and respect when it comes to releasing tracks and they have allowed us to put out our weirdest, most experiential side of music.
Vocal samples play a larger role than your own vocals on the forthcoming EP. How did your creative process differ for this release?
With this EP, we wanted to get away a bit from our own vocals, exploring different textures and structures. “Your Darkness,” for example, uses vocals from an Italian artist, Silvie Loto. “Beat Macho” uses a sample of the great WWF wrester “Macho Man” Randy Savage (RIP, brother), while “Splash” uses chopped up vocals from a pop track. We wanted more leitmotivs than verses and choruses — echoing more classic house-type vocals.
When you don’t rely on vocals, you start to rely more and more on details‚ “small moments,” as we’ve mentioned. So we found ourselves being more attentive to atmospherics, for example, produced by reverbs and delays, long breakdowns, longer more exploratory instrumentation.
What role does songwriting play in your music?
We try to have “songwriting” play a large role in our music, yet our vocals tend to be elaborate, both lyrically and melodically, and we’ve learned that you can’t go too far, in terms of complexity, for the dancefloor. It is better to have simpler, more repetitive elements. We will often, therefore, cut down a 24 bar vocal line into a 4 bar vocal loop. With this EP, we essentially followed strictly this tendency.
What else can we expect from Benoit & Sergio in the near future?
We are currently working on a few other tracks for EPs. One is called “Phone Number” and the other one is called “Miami House Parties.” We hope to have these released in the next few months. We are also working on finishing up our album and hope to have this done in the fall as well.